"The Greatest Showman" stars Zac Efron and Zendaya are relaxed as best they can, chatting on a sofa in a Four Seasons suite, talking to each other and laughing.
And why not? These two incredibly beautiful young people (Zendaya is 21 years old, it is hard to believe that Efron just turned 30), whose two careers were coined on the Disney Channel and who have graduated from the big screen success, are in an original musical movie with Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum. His dizzying love duet ("Rewrite the Stars"), mounted on a flying trapeze, will surely become an emblematic scene, and an exclusive karaoke duet, where your outgoing friends can have a microphone.
"When I first heard it, I went on," says the enthusiast Efron, showing that million-dollar smile. "I could imagine getting that, and that was just me, driving alone in my car, I fell in love with that immediately."
Zendaya (Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman in Oakland) had a different experience with the song. She and her mother met with director Michael Gracey (they were having a mother-daughter day and Gracey invited her mother to come, earning points with the actress); they got part of the contagious music of the project, composed and written by the lyricists of Benjamín Pase and Justin Paul, Oscar winners,
. After that, he said that he annoyed his agents, "trying to enter the room with the director" again. Then she was invited to what she calls a "chemistry reading" with Efron.
"It was not a normal hearing, it was more relaxed than that, "she says," before that meeting, "I was like," would it be great if you could send me the song so I could record it? " I have, like, a studio installed in my garage – "
" This is so bad, "interrupts Efron.
" I wanted to show you what I could do. I recorded my own version of my half of the song. I was like, "she says, the tone rising nervously," Do you guys like it? & # 39; "
" It was more funky, it had heavier bbad and drums, "says Efron, as Zendaya does everything, but laughs." His range shows up in him. "This is rough." Michael was looking at my sides, every time I looked away. … "
He imitates Gracey nodding politely while Zendaya is watching him, and then expresses amazement when he turns around.
The singer-dancer-musician-producer (stars and produces" KC Undercover "for the channel Disney) her first big screen this past summer on Marvel's big hit, "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Maybe the lack of a track record is what made her sure she was selected for "The Greatest Showman" when Gracey he invited her to "hang out" with him and Efron.
Efron asks: "You still did not know?"
"I did not know," he says. "That's why I recorded the song."
] "Oh, that explains a lot," says Efron. "For me, Michael was like," Do you want to go out with Zendaya and see what it is like before they start shooting? "
Both of them laugh, she says: "Oh, no, I was stressed."
Zendaya was chosen, like Anne, a trapeze artist in the mid-nineteenth century in New York who plays a concert in the "great show" of Barnum. Efron plays a heiressed heiress Phillip, a scion of the New York society who is badociated with Barnum; his parents have other plans for him than to join a humble circus performer.
The actor is already a veteran of 20 films, including hits such as "Neighbors" and "Hairspray." Was he trying to be a mentor to his co-star, a Disney Channel ally to someone else?
"I think I tried to be Big Bro once, just like, register, I thought you were disappointed one day … You were just texting," he says, and they both laugh.
"People ask us:" What was it that broke the ice? Did you talk about [Disney]? "Says Zendaya." No, not really … " ] "There is no secret handshake or anything like that"
"Almost the first day, they hooked us up and we're hooked in. Literally we're holding each one," she said. "That's what broke the ice."
Gracey approached the preparation for the project as if it were a musical work, providing ample time for rehearsal. Zendaya welcomed the perspective, mainly.
"That was amazing, but then he also said:" You should start exercising, I want to use your double trick as little as possible, I want you to start trapeze training, I want to see a change in your arms, I want you you look like a trapeze artist. "
" So I said, "That's great, I'm not working." "I'm not that girl, look, I'm lucky, I have a good metabolism, I'm not this guy." , the cunning actress of 5 feet and 10 feet nods with Efron, who moves him, with biceps swollen as he does. "It's not my world." But it became my world. "
Although Efron became famous in original musicals, the" High School Musicals ", to be exact, feared that they were no longer his world, 10 years later.
" I was nervous : Can I still dance? Can I keep up with the choreography? This was going to be one level above everything I had done before. People still think I'm a dancer. I'm not a dancer! I do the same in two steps with a little twist, "he says, laughing at Zendaya," at the club. "
So the two were on equal footing when they started training at Circus Warehouse in New York.
Efron says that the first day was spent "doing some stretching, learning how to swing with one arm, without harnesses, without harnesses." But I entered and you were already in the trapeze – "
" They had me there early, they were just learning things – "she says.
"Like, legitimate, real trapeze," he says, eyes wide open. "Do the cartwheel, kneel, get caught in the air". She landed one, I was like, & # 39; What …? What …? It's you? OMG! "I felt so far behind"
During the love duet, Anne, rehearsing with the loaded strings that are part of her air act, follows Flying away from Phillip, he sings, "It depends on you / it depends on me / No one can say what we have to be", to which she responds: "It feels impossible / Is it impossible? "Try to catch her in flight, sometimes triumphing." Despite its complexity, the scene was the exception to the "broad essay" rule.
Zendaya says: "Our number was impossible to rehearse until the end. all the platforms and all the configurations and relying on the weights: there are so many elements that we can not execute them from start to finish.
"It's impossib" she says, echoing the song.
Efron says: "We just showed up and the first day, we grabbed these ropes with one hand, we ran to each other." Zendaya laughs at the memory.
He continues: "I mean, we had supervision, but we did a lot of things without harnesses." We ran to Michael with ideas and he said, "Just do it, let's shoot." It would fix everything. we fell in love with the camera. "